Microsoft Paint (frequently called MS Paint; formerly Paintbrush for Windows) is a simple graphics painting program that comes bundled with all modern versions of Microsoft Windows. Its original copyright dates to 1985.

The program opens and saves files as Windows bitmap (24-bit, 256 color, 16 color, and monochrome, all with the .bmp extension), JPEG, GIF, PNG, and TIFF. Older versions cannot open or edit PNG files, and can only open GIF, JPEG, and TIFF files with a graphics filter for the specific file type. In addition, newer versions no longer support the PCX format, or some older special formats like RLE. Furthermore, the newer versions do not support the older MSP file format, readable by Paintbrush in Windows 3.x and used with versions of Paint in Windows version 1 and 2.

The program can be in color mode and in monochrome mode (in the sense of having no shades of grey). Thus for shades of grey the color mode is used. Alternatively, in monochrome mode, shades of grey simulated by patterns of black dots, in various densities, can be painted.

However, there is no option to convert real grey to this simulated grey. When loading an image with shades of grey, the program automatically goes into color mode.

Tools and functions Edit

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New versions of Microsoft Paint allow the user to pick up to three colors at a time: the primary color (left mouse click), secondary color (right mouse click), and tertiary color (control key + any mouse click). The tertiary color function seems to be present, but deactivated or left undeveloped, in the older versions.

The program comes with the following options in its Tool Box: Free-Form Select, Select, Eraser/Color Eraser, Fill With Color, Pick Color, Magnifier, Pencil, Brush, Airbrush, Text, Line, Curve, Rectangle, Polygon, Ellipse, and Rounded Rectangle. MS Paint does not have the ability to automatically create color gradients.

The "Image" menu offers the following options: Flip/Rotate, Stretch/Skew, Invert Colors, Image Attributes, Clear Image, and Draw Opaque. The "Colors" menu allows the user to Edit Colors (only menu option under Colors). The Edit Colors dialog box shows a 48-color palette and 12 custom color slots that can be edited. Clicking "Define Custom Colors" displays a square version of the color wheel that can select a custom color either with a crosshair cursor (like a "+"), by Hue/Saturation/Luminance, or by Red/Green/Blue values.

The default colors in the Color Box could be described as the following colors: Black, White, Gray, Silver, Maroon, Red, Olive, Yellow, Dark Green, Green, Teal, Cyan, Navy blue, Blue, Purple, Magenta, Old Gold, Lemon Yellow, Slate grey, Kelly green, Dark Carolina blue, Aquamarine, Midnight blue, Periwinkle, Violet-blue, Coral, and Pumpkin orange. A colour pallette is also avalible.

MS Paint also has a few hidden functions not mentioned in the help file: a "stamp mode", "trail mode" and "10x Zoom".

For the stamp mode, the user can select part of the image, hold the control key, and move it to another part of the canvas. This, instead of cutting the piece out, creates a copy of it. The process can be repeated as many times as desired, as long as the control key is held down. The trail mode works exactly the same, but it uses the shift key instead of the control key. 10x Zoom can be accessed by clicking right below the 8x Zoom button (there is a line about 2 pixels high. Click that to obtain 10x Zoom.) It may be a removed feature.

Uses Edit

Despite its simplicity, Microsoft Paint is still widely used, especially for oekaki and pixel artists since both forms of art require minimal resources.

Negative implications Edit

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Because of its simplicity and the fact that it has been bundled with every version of Windows to date, Microsoft Paint is usually associated with the concept of a newbie or otherwise inexperienced or clueless user, and images and drawings of poor quality are usually labelled as "made with Paint" in a somewhat derogatory manner. In the past, there have been shareware Windows programs featuring graphics drawn with MS Paint, which were easy to recognize because of their rough outlines and flat coloring with no gradients or color smoothing, typical of Microsoft Paint drawings made in a hurry, since those effects are not automated. Intentionally horrible images are also considered to be Microsoft Paint creations, although the connotation is more lighthearted and humorous.

Despite this, experienced artists (especially pixel and oekaki, as mentioned before) can indeed create high quality images with the program.


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Older VersionsEdit